What Foods Increase Milk Supply?
Lactation cookies… oatmeal… spinach… salmon… flaxseed… brewer’s yeast… garlic….
These foods have all been suggested to increase milk supply. But do they actually work? If only it was that easy! While trying different foods can have nutritional benefits, there is no evidence that any one food that will increase milk production.
Many women worry they don’t have enough milk. It is the number one reason women stop breastfeeding. Most of the time, they actually do have enough milk. Learn how to know your baby is getting enough in this post.
Normal newborn behaviours, such as frequent feeding, ‘cluster’ feeding and growth spurts can be misinterpreted as having a low milk supply. If extra milk is given by bottle, baby will breastfeed less often. This becomes a downward spiral as breast milk supply relies on baby feeding more frequently during these times, not less frequently.
Breastfeeding your baby often and on demand is the very best way to increase milk supply. Learn other tips for increasing milk supply here.
There is some evidence that herbs, such as fenugreek, blessed thistle or alfalfa can act as a galactogogue (a substance that increases milk supply). Caution is recommended when using any herb, just as you would be careful when taking a medication. Two respected IBCLC’s (breastfeeding specialists) that have written about herbal galactagogues are Kelly Bonyata and Dr. Jack Newman. Read what they have to say here and here.
So go ahead and enjoy whatever foods you have heard may increase your supply, lactation cookies included! While there is no research indicating their effectiveness, it certainly won’t do any harm. But be sure to relax and breastfeed often as well.
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.
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